AAFCS Member Receives Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award

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Kendra Naef, CFCS, a family and consumer sciences teacher and AAFCS member, received the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in recognition of her outstanding teaching methods and professional leadership. In addition, Naef will receive an unrestricted $25,000 cash award during the annual Milken National Education Conference, a professional development conference scheduled for Washington, DC in the spring of 2006.

Kendra Naef, CFCS, a family and consumer sciences teacher from Kimberly High School, Kimberly, Wisconsin, and a member of the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) has received the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. In addition to professional recognition, Ms. Naef will receive an unrestricted cash award of $25,000. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia participated in the award competition this year.

First awarded in 1987, the Milken National Educator Award has recognized over 2,100 outstanding kindergarten-through-12th-grade educators. Up to 100 educators could be selected for 2005-2006 Milken Awards.

The goals of the Milken Awards are to honor and reward outstanding K-12 educators for the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, their engagement with families and the community, and their potential for even greater contributions to the healthy development of children.

Naef, who began teaching at Kimberly High School in 2000, grounds her teaching in academic standards and employs instructional practices that revolve around critical analysis and student self-assessment. Students practice action-based research which helps them develop a higher capacity for independent work.

“Kendra is a visionary leader who has the ability to recognize the need for a program and then create a solution that benefits both students and the community. She inspires her colleagues to strive for excellence,” said Kimberly High School Principal Mike Rietveld.

Naef, who leads the four-member Family and Consumer Sciences Department at Kimberly High, has developed a curriculum for her 9th through 12th grade students that focuses on human sciences and early childhood development.

A Partners Program she developed pairs cognitively disabled and regular education students, using team-building exercises to forge a strong bond and sense of camaraderie among students to support both academic and developmental learning. She recently earned a grant for a new leadership program.

Wisconsin State Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Burmaster and Wisconsin First Lady Jessica Doyle led a Kimberly High School assembly in presenting the award to Naef. Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Educators are recommended for this prestigious honor without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education.

Active on numerous state and local committees and as a workshop presenter, Naef received the 2004 New Achiever Award from AAFCS. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. with a concurrent M.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences Education at the Iowa State University. Naef earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin—Stout in 1999.

Milken Award recipients will receive their award checks at the annual Milken National Education Conference, a professional development conference scheduled for Washington, DC in the spring of 2006.


Founded in 1909, AAFCS is the only not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing people together to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. AAFCS’ more than 9,000 members are elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educators, researchers, and administrators, cooperative extension educators, and other professionals in business and industry, not-for-profit organizations, and government. These professionals develop, integrate, and provide practical knowledge about LifeSkills—financial literacy; child care and parenting; conflict resolution; consumer education; housing and environment; apparel and textiles; and dietetics and nutrition.

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